G20 Health Ministers meet to get ‘travel back to normal’

Jun 21, 2022
Health Ministers meet to discuss the future of travel at G20 Summit. Source: @G20Indonesia/Facebook

Health Ministers from countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, the United States and the European Union, have met to discuss getting “travel back to normal” at the G20 Summit held on June 20.

Australian Health Minister Mark Butler joined the meeting over video chat, to “discuss the challenges and opportunities in global health reform”.

The Ministers will continue to discuss ways to remove barriers for travellers crossing borders, including testing a pilot system on universal standards for proof of vaccination.

As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Federation of Travel Agents chief executive Dean Long said confirming vaccination status is “one of the major friction points that we’ve got for both inbound and outbound travel”.

“MasterCard, American Express, and Diners Club all have internationally recognised payment systems and it doesn’t matter where you are, they all work the same,” Long said.

“We need governments to get something like that around the world [for proof of vaccination].”

Helping to vaccinate developing countries who are behind on vaccine targets was also on the Health Ministers’ G20 agenda, to bridge the gap in healthcare, as well as prevent the universal exclusion of unvaccinated people from venues such as restaurants and bars.

In a statement released by Butler, global initiatives including the Access to COVID Tools (ACT) Accelerator has been “invaluable” in “delivering over 1.5 billion doses to 146 countries and territories”.

“While COVID-19 remains challenging, we now need to look beyond the immediate pandemic and consider ways to bolster our region’s ability to prepare and respond to future disease threats,” the statement read.

“Australia is doing this by investing in our own vaccine production capacity and establishing an Australian Centre for Disease Control, helping to ensure we are better prepared for future pandemics.

“These initiatives build on Australia’s commitment to work with our Indo-Pacific region to strengthen health security and respond to the pandemic. Australia has already shared more than 40 million vaccine doses and we will continue to work with our Quad Vaccine Partners— India, Japan, and the US—to share doses where and when they are needed, and to build better health security.”

Global Health Ministers will continue to discuss these issues in preparation for the final meeting in October 2022.

 

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